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I stumbled across the concept of post-activation potentiation (PAP) a few months ago when researching various techniques to improve vertical leap, plyometric exercises for basketball and 40-Yard Dash times. If you haven't heard of this type of training, it's time to add it to your program if you want to become a better athlete.
PAP can improve athletic performance through the application of complex training. PAP combines weighted strength movements using moderately heavy loads with plyometric movements that have similar biomechanics. Research has found that PAP training confers tremendous strength and power benefits beyond those achieved with traditional types of training. (Learn more about the science behind PAP.)
PAP complexes are particularly beneficial for improving results in combine tests, such as the vertical jump, 40-Yard Dash, and agility test. These depend on strength and power. The more power you develop with PAP, the better you will perform.
Below is a training plan I compiled and have been using lately that incorporates PAP principles. Feel free to try it, but remember that workouts should be regimented, so you will not get results by performing it only one time.
Since this workout involves several explosive movements, I recommend doing it only twice per week on non-consecutive days. Although it involves some core and trunk engagement, it focuses heavily on the legs, so it's important to warm up your muscles before lifting weights or performing the jumps.
- Warm up with a 5-minute jog/run and a dynamic warm-up that fires your glutes and hip flexors (try this dynamic warm-up)
- Do 5 sets of heavy Squats and a set of Jump Squats immediately after each set. Be careful with the amount of weight you use, since you are aiming to do three to five reps at 80 to 90 percent of your one rep max. Aim for six to eight quality Jump Squats, exploding as high as you can with your arms up as if you were catching a high ball or grabbing a rebound.
- Now do 5 sets of Deadlifts with a set of Depth Jumps after each set. Use the same loading and rep recommendation as above for the Squat, and do six to eight Depth Jumps. Try to spend as little time on the floor as possible during the jump.
- Your final complex will be 5 sets of Weighted Lunges followed by a set of Scissor Jumps. You can do your Weighted Lunges with either a barbell on your back or with dumbbells held at your sides. Again, make sure you can do 3 to 5 reps on each leg at 80-90% of your one rep max and 6 to 8 Scissor Jumps on each leg.
- Now it's time for your cooldown, which is equally as important as the warm-up. Stretching will help prevent injury and stimulate muscle recovery. Also, make sure to focus on your post-workout nutrition and hydration.